I am nothing if not a creature of habit. On Fridays I clean my house. And it’s boring. Really, deeply dull. So as I beetle about the place moving things around and tutting loudly at the failings of my family, I entertain myself by listening to a selection of podcasts and carefully chosen works of fiction all calculated to either lift my mood or distract me far from the task in hand. It’s dull. It takes most if the day. It has to be done.
Anyway, today as I listened, someone mentioned that age old tradition of wetting a baby’s head. Obviously, it was a bloke. I felt myself bristle.
Only men could come up with this type of celebration. It has to be accepted, I believe, that the male role in creating a new life is fairly inconsequential in the grand scale of carrying a baby from conception to delivery. Yes, I accept that they are involved at the very outset but after that their role tends to dwindle to the odd rubbing of a back, fetching and carrying essential craving fodder and being shouted at as their partner’s hormonal imbalances cause uncharacteristic mood swings.
And then, finally, the big day dawns and the man is suddenly totally surplus to requirements. It really doesn’t matter how supportive they are, how calmly they pass on the midwife’s instructions or how hard they have their hands squeezed. It is the woman that does all the work and should rightfully claim all the glory. We emerge, battered, bruised, exhausted and highly emotional with our new little miracle lying quietly in out arms.
It is at this point that the man could legitimately make mention of the pub. The woman, to be fair, only has eyes for the baby and is desperate to sleep so her partner nipping out for a quick pint would cause no problem whatsoever. She smiles at him and tells him to go with her blessing. Everyone is happy.
However, in my, not inconsiderable experience, this is not quite how it goes. In order to maximize attendance at the head wetting, a modicum of planning is required. Not everyone can drag themselves away at a moment’s notice apparently. So calls are made and date is fixed sometime over the following week.
By the night of the head wetting things are looking rather different to the mother. All adrenalin and any drugs that may have softened the blows are well and truly out of her system and every part of her hurts. She has not slept more than an hour or so on the trot because the baby appears to have its days and nights confused and her milk has just come in causing pain that no man can ever begin to imagine. She has had to make endless cups of tea for visitors who won’t leave and the midwife has told her that she absolutely must not have any alcohol as it will find its way into the baby’s blood stream.
It is at this point that the unsuspecting partner decides to mention the little night out that he has planned with his mates. It doesn’t go down well.
So, as all these memories were triggered whilst I dusted, it crossed my mind that notwithstanding my role in the birth of our children, I never got to go to the pub to celebrate. And then it came to me. I shall have a head wetting party. I know my youngest is 6 but what of it? I still deserve to celebrate. And what is more, none of my friends ever had head wettings for the birth of their children either.
So, I intend to fix a date and invite all my friends to join with me to celebrate the birth of my and their children with a tipple or two down at the pub. Diaries out girls!